Ironheart Actor Weighs on the Importance to Present Trans Community in MCU

"Representation matters." It’s a phrase that we hear all the time but will never go out of style. A diverse, accurate, and positive representation of race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, and significant issues in film, TV and any other forms of media is beneficial to society because it uplifts the morals of marginalized and under-represented groups. Marvel Studios is slowly solidifying its stand on LGBTQ+ representation, and one of the first trans masculine actors to play a character in Marvel’s Ironheart talked about the importance of his part.

Speaking with Collider, MCU newcomer Zoe Terakes discussed what makes his character from one of Marvel’s Disney+ offerings so special. He noted that trans people didn't get enough representation, especially in superhero narratives, so his gratitude goes a long way toward the opportunity to change that notion.

“I think as trans people, growing up I didn’t get to see myself anywhere, so I didn’t know that I existed. And especially not in a superhero show or movie. And so I think I just feel deeply grateful and moved that little trans kids and trans teens have something to look at and to know they exist and to know that they can have superpowers and that that’s where we belong.” underscored Terakes.

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It’s common knowledge that LGBTQ+ characters often get the most tragic endings in media installments, so it’s rare when they get to explore one of the big guys in narratives—that they are more than just a sidekick or chess piece to progress a story. “We don’t just belong in trauma stories on the fringes dying in things, you know? We belong there with the big guys. So yeah, it meant a lot to me.” Terakes emphasized.

Despite Terakes Ironheart's role remaining unknown, the hint that he could be playing a super-powered hero is enough for fans to look forward to this project. Additionally, the actor will be joining Zack Barack in the MCU's trans-masc actors, as the latter previously portrayed one of Peter Parker’s classmates in Spider-Man: Far From Home 2019.

In 2021, MCU fans witnessed a same-sex relationship through Phastos in Eternals. There has been a roster of LGBTQ+ characters in the MCU, including Valkyrie, who is canonically bisexual, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, and America Chavez, whose comic character is confirmed lesbian yet has yet to receive its on-screen counterpart. That said, Marvel's queer representation has a long way to go to properly direct its projections.

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Ironheart will focus on an engineering student and certified super-genius, Riri Williams, as she navigates the footsteps of being a superhero. The Disney+ series is expected to premiere in the fall of 2023.

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